THE DEATH OF A TEACHER

ONE LIFE LOST SPEAKS FOR ALL THOSE DEVOTED TO THE MINDS OF THE YOUNG

In the metallic gold light of New York's Park Avenue Synagogue, the students approach Jonathan Levin's burnished casket, cluster for a moment, then take their seats. Over 250 come, black and Latino students from the William H. Taft High School in the South Bronx, where Jonathan taught English. The school has a history of assaults and violence; in 1994, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani sent a dozen policemen to patrol the surrounding streets.

The kids arrive in kids' outfits of baggy jeans, high-tops, sweat shirts, bright blues, yellows, purples, greens. For most of them it is their first time in a synagogue. They...

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